1. Get to know the health cost of cheap food
Industrial, pre-prepared food, opposed to whole food or organic food is often much cheaper. That is because the food industry can afford it. Processed food contains various substances (additives, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides) which enable more foods to be produces, quicker and also last longer. On the other hand, farmers whose products are natural don’t use chemicals so the cost of production is higher. But the truth is that industrial food is not really that cheap after all. It is known to have much higher price – health. Not only does it affect our health, but the environment also. Sustainable eating can be cheaper if you make smart decisions, like only buying what you need and making ingredients stretch across more meals. Knowing the WHY you want to start eating more sustainable and healthier is one of the most important things to consider before starting your journey.
2. Step out of your comfort zone
What does this even mean when talking about sustainable lifestyle and eating? Transferring to sustainable eating can be challenging. Especially when you are not sure where to start and you are realizing it can be time consuming. Sustainable eating requires you to step out of the comfort of supermarkets. For some people it’s hard to see how easy it is to schedule sustainable living with their jobs, and kids and paying bills. Make it part of your daily, or weekly routine, to visit the local produce store or deli. The truth is that sustainable eating should be a no-brainer since in the long run you are taking care of yourself, your family and the environment. It’s all about creating a new routine and new habits.
3. Start thinking shopping for a sustainable lifestyle
For a start, find out where your nearest local produce or organic food store is. It is important to not overwhelm yourself with the idea of your new sustainable lifestyle. Instead, pick one item that you wish to introduce to your everyday eating routine and add the next item to change after 1 week, or when you have mastered the first. Start keeping a shopping list and build it slowly – include some simple, healthy, delicious recipes so you are never lost when shopping.
This one is simple. There is really no way of switching to sustainable eating if you are not willing to learn to cook or start cooking again. If you do cook then, good for you! The internet has an abundance of recipes – Theresa Cutter from The Healthy Chef has an amazing selection. See her website here: https://www.thehealthychef.com/
5. Eat seasonally
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. When you buy local, you can only buy seasonal. There’s a great tip from Sustainable table saying that if you are tempted to eat non-seasonal, then you eat your favourite fruit until you can’t eat it any more. That way you will be less tempted when it’s season ends. A great guide to which vegetables and fruits are available at which season in Australia can be found here
6. Grow your own food
It can’t get more sustainable than this! The feeling when you enjoy the food that you grew, watered, cared for, picked fresh from the garden and prepared for your family is amazing! Here is a simple guide to what to plant and when.
7. Eat less meat
Eat less meat to help the planet and your body. Over consumption of meat, not only impacts our bodies, it impacts the environment also. Did you know that livestock sector generates as much greenhouse emission as traffic? Millions of square kilometres of forests have been cut down for grazing pastures. As we talked about in the post on nasty things you consume daily, there are many things in meat that negatively impact your health and may lead to the chronic disease epidemic we are experiencing. It is not always about eating less meat, rather making smarter choices. Switch your non-organic beef for fish or a locally raised organic option and you will be on your way to more sustainable eating.
8. Avoid bottled water
Beware of bottled water. Yes, it is convenient to buy bottled water, it easy to carry it around, but is it’s leaky-plastic packaging worth the environmental and health impact? Find a good sized aluminum drink bottle to keep in your bag.
9. Make your own versions of favourite packed foods
It is tempting to give up some of your favourite foods from your supermarket. But the good news is you don’t have to. You can make your own versions of those meals, only healthy. Make your own tomato sauce, yogurt, pesto… Since it will be made out of whole food (raw ingredients), it will also taste better! Start making a collection of your favourite recipes so there are no excuses when you get a craving for a naughty snack.
10. Spread the word
Pick up everything you’ve learned about sustainable eating and your new sustainable lifestyle and pass it around. Share the resources you find with your friends and on social media. You will feel good when you realize you have changed the quality of someone’s life. Having a friend there to support your journey makes it a whole lot easier – you need someone else who ‘gets it’ and understands. And look at the bigger picture – you are helping to build a more responsive and conscious community!